A key aspect of retirement planning is anticipating your retirement expenses. Simply put, it’s important to estimate how much money you’ll need to spend once your days in the workforce end. This isn’t necessarily an easy calculation to make: Not only are there many variables in play, but for many individuals, retirement can last several decades.
Challenging though it may be, we would advise our clients to think critically about what their retirement spending might look like. This means going a bit deeper than simply assuming that annual expenses increase according to inflation.
As you explore and anticipate your retirement spending, here are a few considerations to make.
Your Spending May Taper Off
The first thing to know about your retirement spending is that it will likely taper off over time. Initially, in the years just after you retire, you may have a lot of vigor and a lot of drive to travel and to enjoy life with your family. In later years, however, your health may decline, or you may simply lose your interest in regular travel.
The bottom line is that, for most retirees, annual expenses actually decrease over time.
The practical takeaway here is that the standard rules of thumb (e.g., you need to save enough to replace 80 percent of your annual income) may be inaccurate indicators of how much you actually need to save for your retirement. By working with a financial planner, you can develop a more personalized and dynamic savings plan, one that will account for your specific retirement preferences and needs.
Health Expenses May Increase
While overall spending tends to taper off, spending on healthcare tends to increase over the course of your retirement. This includes medications, health supplies, and other out of pocket costs.
You may plan on Medicare to cover some of these costs, but it’s critical to know what Medicare does and doesn’t cover, and to understand that it will likely account for only a fraction of your healthcare needs.
As you work with your financial advisor, make sure healthcare is part of the discussion. In particular, consider some insurance options that can help cover the things that Medicare won’t.
Housing Will Likely Be Your Biggest Expense
For most retirees, housing is the biggest line item on the budget.
That’s what makes it potentially advantageous to downsize, allowing you to not only decrease housing costs but potentially free up some equity you have in your current home.
You’ll See Other Shifts in Spending
There are some other common trends in retirement spending; for example:
- Most retirees spend less and less money on food as they advance in age.
- Entertainment spending, too, tends to taper off over time.
- Retirees typically spend more and more money on gifts, contributions, etc.
The important thing to note is simply that your retirement spending may not mirror your current, pre-retirement spending. There are many variables to think about as you consider how much you need to save, what kind of retirement budget to develop, etc.
Our team of advisors is here to assist you as you evaluate your retirement spending needs. Reach out to Stonepath Wealth Management to discuss your planning needs.